How to motivate social media employee advocates

By Eric Roach

Employee advocates are among a business’s most valuable assets on social media. When employees discuss and promote their employer on social media, they’re exponentially expanding the reach of that business and creating brand awareness and a more positive social media image. But what does it take to keep employees invested as social media advocates over the long term? Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Employees can become distracted by many other competing demands, or if their employer isn’t impressing upon them the importance of advocacy, it can gradually slip by the wayside.

The good news is businesses can and should be taking specific steps to ensure employee advocates not only are maintaining momentum with their social media efforts, but that they are continually growing and expanding their skill sets and reach on social media. Let’s explore the six key things that businesses could do to keep employee advocates motivated on social media:

1. Align social media advocacy goals with employee performance reviews: Employees value their annual performance reviews, and consequently they value the metrics upon which they’re evaluated. When you add advocacy goals to the performance review process, you’re sending a clear message that it’s expected and intrinsic to their professional growth.

2. Use leaderboards to encourage performance: When a business gamifies its social media efforts, it’s turning work into a competitive game that can help employees stay invested in their work. A leaderboard creates a public display of how each employee ranks, which can be a highly effective motivator for sustained performance over the long term.

3. Make a long-term investment in social media: Corporate social media strategy is a long-term investment. Period. There are no shortcuts to organically build the kind of loyal, engaged audience that is the envy of any socially minded business. Part of this long-term investment involves investing in employees’ long-term success as social media advocates. Employees cannot be expected to become advocates overnight.

4. Teach employees how to use social media effectively: Employee advocacy has (or at least should have) specific business objectives that are aligned with the company’s strategic business goals. Employees should be taught how to develop an appropriate voice and personality on social media, how to mine social media for data on audience demographics and audience sensibilities and tastes, and how to use fellow employees to amplify social media messaging. All of these things come when you have a properly developed strategy for employee advocacy.

5. Cultivate thought leadership: By encouraging employees to develop their thought leadership skills on social media, you can create long-term motivation for them to do right by your business. Thought leaders develop their own unique, loyal followings on social media by writing authoritatively about subjects that are directly related to your business. Once they develop this following, they become unstoppable – their audience’s thirst for this information continues to drive them to make progress.

6. Roll out a social media sharing platform: Employee advocates deserve a user-friendly interface that allows them to post and keep track of all social media activity within their company. EveryoneSocial, is the leading social media sharing platform in the industry. I cannot emphasize enough how transformative such a platform is for keeping employee advocates motivated over the long term.

Businesses that find long-term success with advocacy are the ones that invest adequately in their employees. The keys to making this adequate investment are to align social-media goals to employee performance reviews, take advantage of gamification, think in the long term and invest in employee training, cultivate thought leadership, and use an automated social media sharing platform.

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